All art forms and processes involve abstraction of some kind, even when the aim is representation of recognisable forms. But in modern parlance, abstract art is that which uses the visual language of shape, form, colour and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual reference to the world.
However, the varying forms and degrees of abstraction in art can leave a viewer in some confusion, especially as many artists today will argue that all art is abstract (see for example the comments of Australian Artist Irene Amos). After all, paintings and drawings consist simply of marks put together on a flat surface, with or without representational effect, and even translating from a 3D subject onto a 2D ground must involve considerable abstraction from observed reality.
The modern identification of ‘abstract’ with non-representational art may therefore be somewhat misleading, and perhaps a misrepresentation of the translative art process.
Nevertheless, in so-called pure abstraction an artist uses gestural marks or geometric shapes which have no obvious source in the external visual world but can relate instead to (for example) emotion or music (such as Kandinsky/Mondrian or Bridget Riley).
Art labelled abstract expressionism, as practised by artists like Helen Frankenthaler or Jackson Pollack is, by definition, expressive of something though artists may argue about exactly what.
The abstraction employed in other schools of art like Fauvism, Dadaism or Cubism retains more of a link, however attenuated or distorted, to the visual world (such as Henri Matisse or George Braque).
The degree and nature of this link varies from artist to artist as can be seen in contemporary works by Wendy Sharpe or Georgia O’Keefe which abstract in a painterly way from clearly recognisable forms.
‘Abstract’ is thus a term broadly used, making the distinction between various forms of abstract art not always immediately obvious. This probably does not matter except to art historians. The average viewer will take each work on its own terms and make their own judgments.
BBC arts documentary in which painter and critic Matthew Collings charts the rise of abstract art over the last 100 years. Including reference to the fascinating spiritual painter Hilma Af Klint with her work from 1907.
Tate Blog Post “Some artists of this ‘pure’ abstraction have preferred terms such as concrete art or non-objective art, but in practice, the word abstract is used across the board and the distinction between the two is not always obvious.”
John Wolseley’s work highlights the blending of spontaneous process with a rich artistic journey, the marks of which are both left on the work and incorporated into his mixed media art.
There are very few people who make a noticeable mark on the art world, but Ruby Eaves was one of the very dedicated and talented few, who did just that. Ruby participated in many solo and group exhibitions and was often a feature artist, making her in high demand as a judge and tutor. She mostly painted in watercolours and oils but was proficient in all mediums. Her first award was at the Orange Art Festival in 1982, winning first prize with a watercolour, arguably her favourite medium. Ruby lived in western NSW before moving to Orange and then relocated to Brisbane in 1986. She then became a member of the Watercolour Society of QLD as well as the Royal Queensland Art Society. It was during this time that she became so proficient and recognised for her talent not only here in Queensland but also internationally. Her works hang in many public and private collections in Australia and overseas. Many of her paintings have been “acquisitions” by Corporate Businesses as well as Bathurst City Council, Lithgow City Council, Portland Rotary Club and Moreton Shire Council. Ruby’s art often reflected the beauty of light in the Australian landscape. Living on acreage was a source of constant inspiration for her favourite subject matter, enabling her to capture the mood, atmosphere and that “fleeting magical moment”. Ruby was particularly fond of country landscapes, but also loved painting seascapes and international scenes with equal expertise. She had that magical ability to capture the very spirit of the scene to captivate the viewer. In limited space I have hardly done Ruby’s achievements justice, but I know that those who knew her are richer for the experience as am I. She conducted herself with such dignity, generosity and grace and battled ovarian cancer with an inner strength until the end. What an amazing role model for us all. We will never forget you Ruby. Rest in peace my friend. Written by Anne Roberts
The importance of drawing lies in the fact that it embodies a genuine and independent way of thinking. It is the most fundamental and direct of the visual arts in so far as it underlies mastery in almost every discipline in the visual art world.
Training in the formal aspects of drawing is a fortifying element in any artist’s work however he or she may ultimately choose to compose. Learning to see size, scale, shape, and spatial relationships, along with surface interplays of textures within a wash of lights and darks, is necessary for representing any formal idea, whether realistic, imaginary or symbolic. In the first place you must learn to see and draw accurately before you can move on to more expressive ideas.
The best drawing practitioners understand that they only really see something when they draw it.
Dr. Kay Kane
Artist, Teacher of Drawing and Painting
Volunteer Gallery Assistant Positions Available – INTAKE EVERY JAN, APRIL, JULY & OCTOBER .
The Royal Queensland Art Society, Brisbane Branch are looking for passionate, proactive people to join our team at Petrie Terrace Gallery.
The Petrie Terrace Gallery is owned and operated by the Brisbane Branch of the Royal Queensland Art Society (RQAS). The RQAS is a not for profit organisation and was born in 1884, formed by a group of like-minded artists and was formally established in 1887.
The objectives of the RQAS are to encourage and promote the cultivation and appreciation of the fine arts, and provide an artist hub for artists of all genres and encourage the visual arts, provide support to artists, networking opportunities and present exhibitions.
The following volunteer positions are available:
Library and Cataloguing Assistants.
Short Term 3 – 6 months, Volunteer Position.
The historic and important collection of rare books and exhibition ephemera of the RQAS Library is being digitalised and re-catalogued. We are seeking art history students, art history enthusiasts and research students to assist us in this task. This project will be a rewarding and valuable experience for anyone wanting to work in these fields. Computer and archiving skills would be an advantage though all training will be provided.
Gallery Assistants (Administration and Front of House Gallery Duty)
Casual – Ongoing position, Volunteer Position.
Petrie Terrace Gallery are seeking casual assistants who wish to gain experience in the front of house operations of an art gallery. The role will include administration duties, sales and general enquiries, art handling, and occasional assistance in curating and promotion. An interest in the arts and previous experience in retail and / or administration would be an advantage though all training will be provided.
To apply please complete the following form & we will get in touch with you shortly.
For more information please contact our Gallery Coordinator on (07) 3367 1977 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Judged by Guest Artist Frances McKennariery, Her comments listed below
The energy of chaos is beautifully demonstrated and held in shallow space through expert use of a high key palette and harmonising colours. Rhythmic waves of line and shape enhance the sense of movement and subdue this energy into an invitation to join in the ‘joie de vivre’.
Out of the darkness of chaos which so many artists visit in their creative process the energy has here emerged in an illuminated spiral – which happens to be an elegant pair of shells. The dramatic contrasts of light and dark support the strong movement of the spirals then the eye is brought to the reflections which slow the mind and underpin the work with a final sense of gravity.
This subtle and thoughtful work unifies the movement in space and moments in time. A limited palette imbues the work with a sense of restraint and quiet contemplation as does the amusing use of the philosopher/artist image as the key still life figure.
The elegant choice of subject matter with Bird of Paradise blooms and finest Chinese vase is enhanced by gold ground and composed into a compelling image with a clear message. This image of refinement and culture disconcertingly includes a rough outback Australia image hand painted on the vase. The inner energy from the tensions in the imagery engages the viewer and hints at another way of seeing our world. Whatever the interpretations the work remains elegant and intriguing.
This subtle and beautifully observed drawing of a busy kitchen bench draws the eye into an experience of each object through sensitive line and shape. The silvery tonal range and use of silhouette resolves the chaos into a unified and graceful image.
The choice of subject, “Pie ‘n’ Chips” is witty and relevant to most of us which makes a great choice for still life. The sense of a meal interrupted adds dimension to the experience of the forms. Well realised in concept, placement, colours and textures.
Joanne Heath, Red Blue Reflection
Don Wotton, The Mink that Stole the Show
Elegant Chaos: A Celebration of Still life exhibition closed on Sunday 25th June 2019
We are seeking expressions of interest from people who are able to attend committee meetings monthly, support the objectives of the RQAS, take on responsibility for aspects of the operations of the gallery, and we would like people who have skills in one or more of the following areas – business, management, fundraising, working with philanthropists, grant submissions or have significant experience in the art world over a substantial period of time.
Committee members do not necessarily need to be from the current membership base, and maybe you know of someone who has these skills and would be interested in being involved. If you are interested, please email the secretary via the contact page.
The Annual General Meeting is coming up on the 22nd September 2019 and all positions on the committee will be declared vacant. Marg Thomas will have completed almost 3 years as President and hence will be stepping down as President.